Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby Sites I Love

I know that I am no expert when it comes to making a home for an infant. Our little one isn't even going to have his own room for a while since he'll be sleeping in the same room as us (in his own crib or nearby bassinet) because statistically this is the best place for newborns to sleep to avoid SIDS and because Jim slept in his parent's room when he was a baby and felt like it was important. However, I know that through thought and planning I can make my little one's first years a wonderful and nurturing experience for him and for his parents.

Thus, in searching for room decor and for our little one's layette, I have looked for baby-oriented websites that cater to this mindset.

One site I love is Ohdeedoh. They offer nursery tours in a wide variety of budgets and tastes, and get the parent's perspective on why they chose the pieces they did and how their life philosophy connects to the space in which they have created to raise their child. From a nursery that takes up just half of mom and dad's walk-in closet, to nurseries in loft apartments and carriage houses, there is a great deal of variety, and individual pieces and stores are often linked to-- and instructions on alterations to store bought pieces are given. It has also let me see our hoped-for Hensvik crib in action, albeit in a girl's nursery.

Found through Ohdeedoh, the Flickr group, "Go to Your Room," and the connected baby group offer real life nurseries that aren't primped and styled for magazines, but have practical insights into decorating for a baby or youngster. Some of the people in the group are just advertising their own creations that they sell on etsy and in other locations, but are easy enough to skip over and focus on the practical inspirations and dramatic before and after photos.

Another site I love came courtesy of my lovely sister-in-law. She made us a pair of delightful baby pants for Christmas and told me upon my receiving a sewing machine about the site Make Baby Stuff. While the sites downloadable patterns are kind of sad, their innovation with making pants out of old adult t-shirts and practical discussions of freezer paper patterns and appliqued onesies is a great thing.

IKEA--Duh. If you have read my blog at all, then you will know of my love for the clean lines, inexpensive prices and joyful attitude toward childhood that I have found in this mammoth store. When I look at the sample nurseries available on their website it makes me happy, and it delights me to see a girl's nursery that has been designed as something other than a pink, green and brown Princess overkill. From my childcare days I have vowed that I would resist this sterotyping, after seeing 3 and 4 year old girls whose only ambition is to be a princess when they grow up. For items that we will purchase new, the bright colors will also allow us to have a gender neutral palette that isn't "Classic Pooh" or simple yellow and green.

BRIO- In a world of plastic toys, it is nice to see a manufacturer that is still making classic wooden toys, many of which were first launched in the 1960s and are still sold, with small alterations, today. They are perhaps best known for their wooden train sets and train tables, but they may also be known for the Toddler Wobbler, Puck and the Daschund pull-along. Their high contrast, but non-frantic color scheme is also good developmentally for young children. My only sadness is that the infant toys are not currently sold in the United States, but I know how quickly time will pass until our son is ready to use the toddler and preschool level toys. While the toys are a bit more expensive than others, the quality is so great, and through back channels we are able to order items at a deep discount.

For instructions on how to make super cute applique onesies, like it or not, Martha Stewart has some great advice. She featured a wonderful etsy seller, Bella Blu, who manufactures onesies and offers construcitive advice on how to make some of your own. This weekend I'm intending to head out and get the necessary items to create some of my own. Because of the patterns available, so far I have made plenty of pants for The Bean, but no shirts. I'm intending on buying a pattern for baby shirts as well as some pre-made onesies that I can work on up at the Coon Rapids JoAnn's Fabrics, which seems to have the best selection of baby fabric as well as a great selection of pre-made appliques and iron-on onesies. I already have some iron on backings, but I bought the wrong type and ended up having to pin my design to the pair of pants I was making.


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